The Quirky Ladies is a group of eclectic (and dare I say quirky?) ladies who are passionate about writing romantic fiction. All types of romantic fiction...paranormal, fantasy, historical, erotic and contemporary. Bring it on!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cool Award!

Big thanks to Emily Bryan for bestowing the Kreativ Blogger Award to The Quirky Ladies blog. This is a cute idea....we now have to pick 7 of our favorite things, and 7 of our favorite blogs! Here's the Quirky consensus....

Dalton: Favorite thing is making my husband laugh. Corny, I know, but there's something about seeing that smile or hearing him laugh, especially when I've said something only he would get. Fave blog is Readlines & Deadlines because it's not only entertaining, it's incredibly informative.

Tara: My favorite thing is the sound of my nieces' laughter and joking around together. Their voices sound like music to me!!! My favorite blog, Penelope's Romance Reviews of course! And the Quirkies. All About Romance has a lot of fun stuff to read as well.

Kate: My current favorite thing is Macarthur's tiny little boy voice, especially when he's being sassy (though I try not to let him know that). And my favorite blog (aside from Penelope and the Quirkies) is Readlines & Deadlines - the EC Editor's Blog.

Michelle: One of my favorite things: The smell of spring in the air.
Favorite blog is Deadline Dames.

Victoria: Favorite blog is easy--Penelope's Romance Reviews :) 
Favorite thing: Well, besides diving into a great book, I'd have to go with admiring a beautiful painting, or the sound of my kids' laughter.

Penny: I get 2 votes to get us up to 7!!! :)
Favorite things: (other than group hugs with my family)
1) Waking up on the first true fall day when the sun is shining and it's cool and I get a hankering for picking apples, starting a pumpkin collection and planting mums....
2) Burying my face in Lucy the Wiener Dog's neck when she's just awoken from a nap and she's all warm and snuggly!
And 2 favorite blogs....Smexy Books (awesome romance site) and The Long and Short Of It All (really fun doxie site!).

Thanks again to Emily Bryan for the fun award!


Friday, August 21, 2009

It's Release Day!!

It's here! Not only is Stray Lovers my first title on my own, it was written for a very special cause.

When I heard what happened to Lara Punches, I was in tears. I never had the opportunity to meet this special young lady, but that didn't matter. Any parent, heck, anyone with human emotions would be touched by her story and honored to help in any way possible.

See for yourself:
See what I mean? So grab a tissue, dry those tears, and come meet the characters of Stray Lovers.

Stray Lovers
Lovestruck veterinarian Marcus Hill thought he could wait for a relationship with Jane, but he’s offered his dream job in another state. It’s time to go.

Headstrong Jane Tipper is going to miss her best friend, but she understands why he’s leaving. She, too, has a career agenda she won’t alter for anything or anyone. Never again.

As their last week together approaches, their desire for each other hits high gear. Ending as friends with benefits sounds good in theory and feels even better. What could be better than a week of incredibly hot sex with your best friend? Neither one regrets it. Until it’s time for Marcus to go.

The stray cat hissed, ears back and Jane Tipper quickly threw a towel over him before he could attack Marcus. She and Dr. Marcus Hill had developed a smooth dance between animal control officer and veterinarian, as well as a strong friendship over the last two years.

Now Marcus was leaving their small New England town. Jane was seriously going to miss him but she, more than anyone, understood his need to fulfill his dream of being a large animal vet.

“I can’t believe you’re willing to leave all this to stick your hand up cows and horses.”

Marcus grinned as he deftly maneuvered the towel-covered tom to begin the exam. “That’s a unique way of looking at it. What about the year-round warm weather in Florida?”

“Heat will make the smell overwhelming. Ever fry a cow patty?”

“Er, no.”

“Me either but I’ll bet it stinks. Plus, there are no alligators in the Charles River,” she pointed out.

“That’s because they’re smart enough to live in warmer waters.”

They were both quiet as he did his best to listen to the cat’s heart with his stethoscope. Jane studied Marcus even as she kept a firm hold on the patient. Thick lashes shielded dark brown eyes that were nearly as black as his thick hair, which he wisely kept short. His was not a profession that allowed for loose long hair and he wasn’t the ponytail type.

It was the end of the day, which meant he needed a shave. Teasing him about that wouldn’t be the same over the phone. Last Christmas, she had given him a shaving and manicure set that included an electric nose trimmer. She’d given it to him at the vet clinic’s holiday party and he’d thrown back his head and laughed before chasing her with it.

After that he was always clean shaven when she saw him outside of work, starting the very next night when they’d caught a movie together. Jane would have felt bad if he hadn’t used the opportunity to leave a little package behind at her place. Inside was an extremely brief pair of red panties with bite me scrolled across the front.

She almost burst out laughing again just thinking about it. Was it inappropriate? Yeah but so was her gift to him. Besides, she loved that she could be that free with him. He not only understood her sense of humor, he shared it.

She suddenly had to swallow a huge lump in her throat. “I’m going to miss you, Marcus.”

He didn’t look up at her. “I’ll miss you too, Janie. You know it’s not just about the weather. Not having to slog my way through snow is a major bonus but I would stay if there were enough working farms in the immediate area. You know that, don’t you?”

Jane nodded because he was looking at her now, letting her see that he hurt too. She’d even miss the way he called her “Janie” every once in awhile.

They finished up with the cat in silence and finally put the poor guy back in the carrier. The tom was yowling mad at all the poking and prodding and his mood wasn’t going to get any better with the required quarantine time. Or the neuter.

Marcus peeled off his gloves and made some notations in the chart. “He’s cleared for neuter. Do you have a place for him at the shelter?”

“He’s being fostered. I’ll drop him at his temporary home when we’re done here.”

“I should have his FIV status in a minute.” He cleared his throat and with that seemed to clear the melancholy air that had sprung up between them. “I’ll meet you at your place at seven. My turn to bring dinner. Chinese?”

“Sounds great. Don’t forget the chopsticks this time.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said over his shoulder as he left the exam room.

Jane scooped up the carrier and headed out the door. By the time she had the cat loaded in the back of the animal control truck, Marcus had opened the clinic door to give her a thumbs-up. The cat was FIV negative. She called the tom’s foster mom and got on her way.

She couldn’t wipe the look on Marcus’ face off her mind. Though they’d shared many close moments over the time they’d known each other, some of them pretty darn awkward, she couldn’t let it drop as easily this time. It didn’t take a genius to figure out it was because he was leaving next week.

For the thousandth time she wondered if they could make a go of it as a couple. For the thousand and first time she willfully discarded the notion. Anything beyond friendship was not on her agenda and that wasn’t going to change until she was done with chiropractic school. She’d veered from that course once for a man and it was never going to happen again.

It didn’t take her long to drop off the cat and some supplies and head home to shower. Even with the diversion her mind went right back to Marcus.

She’d met him three years ago, though they didn’t become friends until the following year. She had just taken the job as town animal control officer and Marcus was working at the clinic for a week as part of his requirement from Tufts University. She thought he was cute and a nice guy but she’d politely declined when he asked her out. She was six months out of a bad relationship that had started in high school and she wasn’t ready for anything. Even dating. That still held true today.

To the clinic’s delight, Marcus had accepted their offer to work for them after his graduation a year later. That had been two years ago and he’d once again asked Jane out. He’d also again accepted her polite refusal and with it her offer to just be friends.

If she were going to date anyone, it would be Marcus Hill. He was a great guy. But a wonderful thing had happened to her when she’d broken it off with her controlling jerk of a boyfriend. She’d grown up, figured out what she wanted to do with her life, and nothing was going to deter her. Besides, until she achieved her goals, how could she expect to know what she’d want out of a relationship? She definitely knew what she didn’t want but that wasn’t good enough.

No relationship potential, no need to date. Well, she did miss sex but that’s why toys were invented.

She sighed as she pulled into her parking spot and killed the motor. No doubt her vibrating friend would get a good workout later tonight.

Stray Lovers
available 8/21/09
Ellora's Cave

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Now that the champagne bottle is empty and I've slept off the aftermath, I wanted to touch base with our Quirky followers and share my good news. I've been offered a contract by Ellora's Cave for BOUND ODYSSEY, my futuristic romantic erotica. I wrote this story faster than any before it, despite the fact it is a full-length novel plus, a less typical length for romantic, erotic fiction. It has all the intrigue and plot, all the world building, all the characterization, all the romance, as any other futuristic. And, of course, all of the hot parts. Mira, Jace and Roman, my three protagonists, jumped off my keyboard onto the page as vibrant, fascinating, complex characters and it was a joy to tell their story. (Thank you, Muse.) I will share news about my cover and release date as I receive it. And, of course, tease you with more information about the book. But for now, I will continue to jump up and down and grin madly during that euphoric period after receiving the good news. Thank you for your momentary indulgence. May your days be filled with just as much good news.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TBR Piles: Taking the Fun Out of Reading Romance

I still have academic stress dreams even though I finished up graduate school fifteen years ago. You know, those dreams where you're sitting in a final exam room for French, except you never actually took French and can't figure out why you have to pass this test in order to graduate. These dreams pretty much wreck the whole next day since I find it hard to shake that "Oops, I forgot to take French" feeling that lingers all day long. 

Romance novels, for me, are all about fun. No pressure. No tests. No comparative literature examinations. If something strikes my fancy, I read it. If someone recommends a good book, I check it out. But I have noticed something that makes me break out in a cold sweat like those nightmares. A very common theme on the romance boards. There are a heck of a lot of readers who have turned reading romance into an obligatory, pressure-filled experience culminating in the ever-dreaded...TBR Pile. (Took me a while to figure out this meant To Be Read.) They're seriously stressed that they haven't finished all of the Julie Garwood historicals. Or worried that a new paranormal author has started a series, and they have not read it yet. They have spread-sheets with all of their books organized into lists. Folks get high-fives for TBR Piles nearing zero, and others lament their piles are inching upward. They are filled with anxiety about reading romance novels!!!! Christ on a crutch, batman! 

Uh, I hesitate to say this (not really) but something tells me these folks are missing the big picture. Romance novels are not supposed to promote anxiety, they're supposed to make us happy. Ergo, the HEA (Happily Ever After), the sizzling sex, the snappy banter, etc. etc. (Hey Kate, did you notice I got "Christ on a crutch" and "ergo" in this post?--a few of my favorite expressions!) Anyway, I really want to shake these people and remind them of one simple fact...."Romance novels! These are romance novels, people! Sheesh!" There is no way I am turning one of my most favorite, relaxing, fun-filled, mindless, wonderful, endorphin-producing hobbies into an academic-like endeavor. I'm thinking of having a Just Say No To TBR Piles! bumper sticker made for my car. 

Honestly, there are a few vague thoughts floating around in the back of my head concerning books I'd like to read, like "One of these days I'm going to check out a Nalini Singh book," but there's no sense of urgency, no anxiety. I figure I still have a few decades left to devour all the great books I want to, and I refuse to make it a sweat-inducing source of stress. Not sure why certain readers want to elevate reading romance to an academic endeavor, but I'm staying out of it. Next week on vacation, I'm looking forward to a cold, frosty beer, a hammock and a pile of unplanned, unknown romance novels that I'll probably pick up in the Narragansett grocery store. Perfect!
Penny Watson

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Two Creative Muses

I love writing, but sometimes another creative muse pulls at me. During these times, I set aside my laptop to pick up a paint brush. I've always been an amateur artist, taking numerous classes and dabbling in several mediums from graphite to charcoal, pastels, and pen and ink. Then I discovered Winslow Homer's paintings and fell in love with watercolor.

I love the beauty of the flowing, merging washes. I love its transparency. I love how it can be extremely detailed like some of Edward Hopper's works or incredibly loose like those of Maurice Prendergast. I love the wet, luminous qualities of J.M.W. Turner's London sunsets and the dry, scraped, churning seas by Winslow Homer.

I recently signed up for a writer's conference and after finishing a two-day watercolor workshop, I couldn't help but compare and contrast these two creative outlets.

Okay, if the truth be told, after sweltering all day under the hot August sun painting this beautiful garden, it crossed my mind that writer's workshops were a tad easier. Standing before my easel eight hours later and feeling the sweat drip down my back, I yearned for a comfortable chair and air conditioning.

I went to clean up my stuff, and it took a couple trips to the car to lug easel and umbrella, the finished painting, the paints, brushes, water jugs, and paper towels, etc. I won't be complaining the next time I have to slip my laptop in its case and carry it from library to car.

While the logistics involved in writing have an advantage over painting, there is still nothing like seeing a finished picture at the end of the day. Seeing a painting I've worked hours on come together is like magic. And -- there are no edits and revisions aside from a small touch up here and there. Toss it in a frame, and everyone can admire it.

There are also many similarities between the two. Surprises can be found in both. In writing, characters can go off script and yet these detours often enhance a story. Sometimes what I believe to be a mistake in my painting, like two colors inadvertently merging can make a picture beautiful. Similar to story ideas popping into a writer's head, I'll see a beautiful scenic vista and yearn to capture it in paint.

Best of all, in both writing and painting, I can get blocked. It's at these time that I'm lucky to have two creative outlets to which I can turn. If both outlets are blocked, I simply pick up a book and dive into another love.